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Frequently Asked Questions

How would a government shutdown affect Department of Veterans Affairs Employees?

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ current projection is that 95 percent of VA’s 332,025 employees would be either fully funded or required to perform excepted functions during a shutdown event. 

As President Obama stated in his Sept. 30 government shutdown statement, will veterans find their support centers unstaffed in the event of a shutdown?

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, VA’s Military Sexual Trauma counseling services, Readjustment Counseling Services and Veterans Crisis Line will not be affected by a shutdown. Additionally, the following VA support phone lines will remain open for business: VA National Call Center, Coaching into Care Call Center, Debt Management Center, Homeless Prevention Line, Mammography Helpline, National Caregiver Support Line, Women Veterans Call Center, Vet Center Combat Call Center, Children of Women Vietnam Veterans; Foreign Medical Program; Spina Bifida Health Care Program. Additionally, all VA medical facilities and clinics will remain fully operational in the event of a shutdown.

As President Obama stated in his Sept. 30 government shutdown statement, will a government shutdown keep veterans suffering from PTSD from getting counseling services?

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, VA’s Military Sexual Trauma counseling services, Readjustment Counseling Services and Veterans Crisis Line will not be affected by a shutdown. All of those services are equipped to offer veterans suffering from PTSD with support. Additionally, all VA medical facilities and clinics will remain fully operational in the event of a shutdown and will be available for veterans with PTSD in need of counseling services.

How would a shutdown affect veterans’ pensions and disability checks?

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, claims processing and payments in the compensation, pension, education, and vocational rehabilitation programs are anticipated to continue through late October. However, in the event of a prolonged shutdown, claims processing and payments in these programs would be suspended when available funding is exhausted. The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is attempting to confirm this with the Administration.

How would a shutdown affect survivor benefits?

Survivor benefits are similar to disability/pension benefits paid to veterans. Thus, according the VA’s assessment, survivors currently in receipt of Dependency and Indemnity Compensation or Survivors’ Pension will continue to receive those payments until funding runs out in late October. The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is attempting to confirm this with the Administration.

How would a shutdown affect veterans’ educational benefits?

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, claims processing and payments in the compensation, pension, education, and vocational rehabilitation programs are anticipated to continue through late October. However, in the event of a prolonged shutdown, claims processing and payments in these programs would be suspended when available funding is exhausted. The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is attempting to confirm this with the Administration.

How would a shutdown affect veterans disability compensation and claims processing?
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, claims processing and payments in the compensation, pension, education, and vocational rehabilitation programs are anticipated to continue through late October. However, in the event of a prolonged shutdown, claims processing and payments in these programs would be suspended when available funding is exhausted. The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is attempting to confirm this with the Administration.

How would a shutdown affect veterans’ health services through VA hospitals?

VA received a full year appropriation to operate its health care system for all of FY 2014. Therefore, veterans’ medical care would not be affected. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, in the event of a shutdown, all VA medical facilities and clinics would remain fully operational, including, inpatient care, outpatient care, prescriptions, surgeries, dental treatment, extended care, mental health care, nursing home care, special health care services for women veterans and vet centers.

What would happen to VA hospitals and clinics? Would they still operate and could veterans receive treatment, including mental health and pharmacological?

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, in the event of a shutdown, all VA medical facilities and clinics would remain fully operational, including, inpatient care, outpatient care, prescriptions, surgeries, dental treatment, extended care, mental health care, nursing home care, special health care services for women veterans and vet centers.

What is the House Committee on Veterans Affairs doing to ensure veterans are not penalized for Washington’s inability to agree on America’s spending priorities?

House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Jeff Miller has introduced and the committee has unanimously approved the Putting Veterans Funding First Act of 2013. The bill would require Congress to fully fund the Department of Veterans Affairs’ discretionary budget a year ahead of schedule, ensuring that all VA services would have timely, predictable funding in an era where continuing resolutions and threats of government shutdowns are all too frequent. More info on the Putting Veterans Funding First Act of 2013 can be found here.

Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Field Guide to Government Shutdown

Department of Veterans Affairs Appropriation Lapse Contingency Plan